To call this 'Southlake revisited' is stretching the point a little. It's not like it was a major expedition or a journey of some note. Southlake is only about two kilometres from my home and is somewhere I seem to have spent an awful lot of time, especially as a child. Growing up on a farm meant that I had to help out quite a lot. The farms in this area don't have neat expanses of land around them, instead the fields seem to be dotted around all over the place - often in and around other villages. We used to rent some fields in Southlake and I remember spending a lot of time there, milking cows, moving them from field to field or making hay - and that's not a euphemism for anything other than genuinely making hay, turning dried grass into winter feed.
Southlake is named well. It is large, flat and low-lying and covers an area between a number of small villages. In times gone by, to prevent the local river, the River Parrett, from overflowing and flooding villages, Southlake was used to channel the water away and flooded during the winter months. I can remember seeing it turn into a lake with only the tops of the gate posts and the odd telegraph pole sticking up above the waters. I can even remember it freezing over once and seeing people skating on it. The flooding did the land good because it brought much-needed nutrients to the soil. It doesn't happen very often now because their are other flood prevention schemes.
I decided to go there late on Sunday afternoon because I wanted a big sky. It had been raining and there was a bit of a lull before more rain would follow. I wanted to take photos of the clouds and Southlake was ideal because there aren't many trees and the only hills you can see from there are in the distance. This means that there isn't much to get in the way of a big sky. The light was great for taking close-ups too; that weird 'between the clouds' sunshine that comes and goes but somehow leaves a strange afterglow.
Bedrush, so called because it used to be used for stuffing mattresses or even just laying on the floor. The green spikes have a soft pithy centre which makes them really comfortable to lay on.
Among my very favourite summer wetland flowers are Ragged Robins (great name too!) Happily, unlike a lot of the plants that were commonplace when I was a child, there still seem to be lots of them around in the wetlands.
Like a miniature prehistoric forest, marestails, or pipeweed, or horsetails, or snakepipe. These plants haven't evolved or changed for millions of years and species of them can be found growing wild just about all over the world except for Australasia and Antarctica (useless fact number 4582934, brought to you courtesy of this journal.)
Duckweed in the ditches and buttercups in the fields.
I loved the bands of colour and texture with the weeds in the ditch at the bottom moving through to the Ragged Robins at the top.
One of the drainage ditches. These serve two purposes; they help to keep the land drained and they also act as field boundaries stopping cattle from straying.
Now to my skies. I have to admit that I have darkened these images (just a little as it was clouding over fast and getting darker by the minute anyway) to bring out the textures and layers in the clouds. I don't normally do this with my photos but as this was the reason I took them anyway, I thought I would make the best use of the technology I have and the limitless lack of knowledge I possess. I prefer my pictures to be natural but sometimes this can work too.
Finally, I saw this house as I was driving around the back of the village of Othery. Would you?